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STATE MEETINGS: North Carolina, South Carolina

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N.C. Baptists celebrate being ‘On Mission Together’

By Chad Austin/BSC Communications

North Carolina Baptists rallied around the theme “On Mission Together” during their annual meeting Nov. 8-9 at the Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro.

In his first address to messengers at an annual meeting, Executive Director-Treasurer Todd Unzicker drew upon Revelation 5 to cast a vision of N.C. Baptists being “a movement of churches on mission together.”

Unzicker announced the launch of the “Every Child” foster care and adoption ministry, a partnership between the state convention and the Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH). He presented a $300,000 gift to BCH President and CEO Michael C. Blackwell on behalf of the state convention.

N.C. Baptist board of directors President Matt Capps moderated a panel discussion with Amber Henderson, director of biblical counseling at Fairview Baptist Church in Apex, N.C., and attorney Samantha Kilpartick, a contributor to the “Caring Well” resource. Henderson and Kilpatrick shared their expertise related to how to respond to abuse allegations and practical ways to care for abuse victims and survivors.

Capps announced that the executive committee of the state convention’s board of directors voted unanimously Nov. 8 to conduct a comprehensive review of existing policies and procedures related to sexual abuse, awareness, prevention and response. He said no convention leaders are aware of any current accusations or mishandling of sexual abuse by the state convention.

Messengers approved a $28 million Cooperative Program budget for 2022, which reflects a $1 million increase over the current budget. The budget also increases the state convention’s allocation to Great Commission ministry partners by 3 percentage points, moving from 42 percent to 45 percent of the total budget.

In a separate measure, messengers voted to divide any receipts in excess of next year’s $28 million budget equally between Great Commission ministry partners and state convention ministry groups.

Micheal Pardue, pastor of First Baptist Church Icard in Connelly Springs, N.C., was re-elected president. Quintell Hill, lead pastor of Multiply Community Church in Monroe, N.C., was re-elected first vice president. Jason Miller, senior pastor of Dutch Cove Missionary Baptist Church in Canton, N.C., was re-elected second vice president.

In his president’s address, Pardue preached on the task of disciple-making in the local church from Matthew 28.

Messengers adopted a resolution on “Prayer and Spiritual Awakening” that calls on N.C. Baptist pastors to lead their congregations to pray for a nationwide spiritual awakening in worship services, while encouraging church members to pray daily for a spiritual awakening.

Messengers also approved six amendments to bylaws related to giving proper notice to churches on various matters related to convention meetings and business.

H.B. Charles Jr., pastor and teacher at Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., delivered the convention sermon based on the parable of the wheat and the tares from Matthew 13.

Next year’s annual meeting is scheduled to return to the Koury Convention Center on Nov. 7-8, 2022.

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SCBC commemorates bicentennial year, creates sexual abuse task force

By Todd Deaton/Baptist Courier

COLUMBIA, S.C. (BP) – Messengers to the 201st annual meeting of the South Carolina Baptist Convention celebrated the convention’s bicentennial year, approved the creation of a task force to review sexual abuse policies and procedures, and elected a Newberry pastor as president-elect.

International Mission Board President Paul Chitwood was keynote speaker for a missionary commissioning service that kicked off the Nov. 8-9 sessions at First Baptist Church in Columbia, which also featured a closing message by best-selling author and nationally-known evangelist Tony Evans.

Drawing on the theme for the 2ooth anniversary, “Advance Together,” SCBC Executive Director-Treasurer Gary Hollingsworth said, “Looking back is important, but looking forward is imperative.”

“The whole concept of ‘Advance Together’ is not new; it comes from the heart of God,” he said. Advancing Together through missions, education and cooperation is what brought South Carolina Baptists together, and “it’s what, by the grace of God, will keep us advancing the next 200 years.”

Alex Sands, the SCBC’s first African-American president, reminded the 762 registered messengers that Richard Furman, the first president of South Carolina Baptist Convention, who was a slaveholder, had a “blind spot” because of the culture. “A man who was so theologically sound and such an outstanding leader had this blind spot where, in his mind, he thought there wouldn’t be a day when someone with my [skin] complexion … would be here in Columbia addressing the convention,” Sands said.

“The problem was he allowed artificial designations from culture to dictate his theology. Praise God, we are in a better day!”

Two hundred years ago, “God was using fallible people to do heavenly work,” he said, referring to the convention’s founding. “We shouldn’t be ashamed of telling our story, because when we don’t tell it we’re robbing God of glory. When we can say, ‘Look at our beginnings … and now look where we are 200 years later,’ only God could get the glory from that. It certainly was not man,” he said.

“Oh, but look at our God, and what He has done!”

Yet, a spirit of division is still active and well, and has infiltrated the church, he said, offering some “preventive medicine” from Philippians 2. He challenged South Carolina Baptists to rid themselves of “artificial differences.”

During the business session, D.J. Horton, pastor of Church at The Mill in Moore, presented a motion calling for creation of a task force to respond to any recommendations regarding sexual abuse reporting and prevention to be made to messengers at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Anaheim, Calif., next June.

Albert Allen, pastor of First Baptist Church Newberry, was elected by acclamation as president-elect. He will serve as president in 2023.

Other officers elected by acclamation were Chuck Sprouse, pastor of First Baptist Church Ninety Six, first vice president; and Rod Elliott, pastor of First Baptist Church Cheraw, registration secretary.

Wayne Bray, pastor of First Baptist Church Simpsonville, will preside as president when the state convention meets again at First Baptist Church Columbia, in November 2022.

Messengers adopted a $26.5 million Cooperative Program investment budget for 2022, which is the same as last year.

Of the total amount, $14,442,500, or 54.5 percent, will be earmarked for South Carolina Baptist missions, ministries and programs, while $12,057,500, or 45.5 percent, will be earmarked for Southern Baptist missions and ministry causes. The International Mission Board will receive $6,668,460, or 25.16 percent of the SBC portion.

Nathan Hutson, chairman of the Bylaws Committee, brought a motion of proposed changes reflecting a desire to simplify and streamline the convention’s bylaws and current practices. Major changes include the elimination of the offices of second vice president and recording secretary and the elimination of the Order of Business Committee.

In addition to expressing appreciation to the host church and recognizing the SCBC’s bicentennial year, messengers adopted statements on unity, sexual abuse, religious liberty, abolishing abortion, hate crimes legislation, and protecting women’s sports.

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